How Long Should Your Paragraphs Be?

June 22, 2021
I still see quite a few websites with large blocks of text. To a website visitor, large paragraphs look like homework assignments. They look like an entire book to read. Instead of large blocks of text, break your paragraphs up into smaller chunks. Brian Dean, Mr. Backlinko, has this mastered. You'll never see large paragraphs on his web pages.
In fact, he is fond of line breaks after just one sentence! Single sentence "paragraphs" seem to be the direction website copy is going.
It creates more white space and makes content easier to digest. They probably also increase engagement and help optimize website conversions. Once a visitor has invested time, longer paragraphs might make more sense.

The Three Points

Point First, Point Middle, Point Last
(something I learned from Flint McGlaughlin)
When writing copy to improve conversions, you usually want to make your point first. This seems logical right? Who wants to read 5 paragraphs or listen to a long-winded speech before somebody finally gets to their point.

The interesting thing is that this applies in micro form as well. Take a look at this product description from an actual client:

Our products are great choices because (our company) has been around for over 50 years and they all come with a lifetime warranty.

Notice something fishy? They are making the most important point last. The description would be more customer-centric, read better, and contribute to higher conversions like this:
Get a lifetime warranty on all products backed by over 50 years of quality manufacturing experience at (our company).

Besides the obviously higher converting "Get" leading the statement, the order in which the content is structure is way more optimized.

This is easily one of the most common problems I see on websites and all sales copy. There is no care put into the order of the content. The way you frame information and the order its in matters, and it matters A LOT. People's attention spans are thin. Tell them whats in it for them first. Think about this the next time you write an meta description. I see poorly optimized meta descriptions making their point last all of the time. Its almost like a global pandemic 
Point? The three points are first, middle and last

Don't Write Long Paragraphs

You should almost never write long paragraphs of copy. The general rule of thumb is to only write 3 - 5 sentences per paragraph before breaking the text up with bullet points, numbered lists, quotes or one-liners.
This is especially true at the beginning of sales copy. Nobody wants to be inundated with a "book" when they first start to read.

Use the Right Font

Fonts need to get bigger on websites. Especially with the rise of mobile browsing. However, even on desktop, bigger fonts are easier to read and make sense of. On mobile, small fonts create a poor user experience, which will create a high bounce rate.
Larger fonts - I like 20 px font size - and double spaced paragraphs will make your content easier to read,
Make sure your font size is big enough to read

which will make people more likely to read it. As a bonus, that double spacing also makes your content seem more plentiful as well.

Create a Great Value Proposition 

The heart of a great web page is the value proposition. And yet, over and over I see smart people, and great companies create home pages and landing pages without anything close to one. But if you want to master conversion rate optimization, you really need to start focusing on creating great value propositions. So what is a value proposition and what makes a good one?

Your value proposition should be the first thing your visitors see, and it should generally consist of:
  • A powerful and attention-getting headline that gives the end benefit of what your offering in one sentence.
  • A subheading or a few paragraphs that give a specific explanation of your offer, who it’s for and why it’s useful.
  • 3-5 bullet points listing key benefits.
  • A hero shot of your product. A picture that paints a thousand words and grabs attention. If your photo reinforces your main message then you have a better chance of hooking your target customer. Avoid stock photos if possible.
  • Avoids hype or sleaze or any type of unsubstantiated proclamation.
  • Clarity. Every word is chosen carefully to be as precise in the messaging as possible. No corporate jargon.
  • Can be read and understood within 5 seconds.
  • Tells the customer the concrete result they’ll get from using a product or service.
  • Communicates how the company is different/better than the competition.
Robert , founder of Nimbus Marketing, with his family on the porch of their Westchester home
Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

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